Many of us suffer from regular slumps in energy that see us reaching for unhealthy snacks to see us through the day. Eating too much sugar or too many high GI foods like white potatoes, white bread and short-grain rice can actually lead to a roller coaster of energy highs and lows, with excess sugar also playing a major role in spiking energy levels.
Consuming a diet rich in fibre, fats derived from good quality fish, avocadoes and seed oils along with plenty of lean protein will help to stabilise energy levels throughout the day, avoiding the peaks and troughs that some of us experience regularly.
Along with ensuring that you drink eight glasses of water and get eight hours of sleep each day, you can also increase your energy levels by regularly consuming the following superfoods.
The humble banana is one of nature’s best energy sources and is fully portable, with its own waterproof wrapper! One banana contains 35% of the vitamin D and 15% of the vitamin C you need each day, with a healthy dose of potassium that provides electrolyte replenishment, helping you recover energy levels after exercising.
Bananas also contain high levels of fibre to help stabilise energy levels throughout the day.
Slice bananas on wholegrain cereal, blend into smoothies or eat alone as an energy enhancing daily snack.
Organic Maca powder is thought to provide a boost to energy levels as Maca is an adaptogen, naturally helping the body cope with stress and fatigue. Maca can also help you to recuperate and repair damage to the body, caused by the strain of vigorous exercise.
The Maca plant originates from Peru and has a long history of medicinal and culinary use in South America. Maca powder is derived from the dried root of the plant.
Maca powder can be added to your favourite drink (this works particularly well with rice milk) blended into a smoothie or sprinkled over sweet foods like yoghurt or porridge.
Hemp, Sunflower and Pumpkin seeds
Although they originate from the cannabis plant, Hemp seeds don’t contain any THC, the component that produces the ‘high’ effect of marijuana. These tiny but mighty seeds will help to boost and maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
Whole seeds provide a tasty crunch when sprinkled over salads or added to stir fry’s or pasta dishes. Or why not try a smoothie made with Hemp protein powder, which requires less energy to digest.
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are both high in protein and low in carbohydrates, with pumpkin seeds also being rich in iron. Both types of seeds are a fantastic energy boosting snack, helping to keep levels constant throughout the day.
While dates do have a high sugar content, these are simple sugars, which are quickly converted into glycogen by the liver. Glycogen, stored in the liver and muscles, is a great source of energy, especially for those who exercise regularly.
Dates are a great snack eaten on their own. As some find the taste of dates a little too strong, they are often blended into energy bars or balls and also work well as a cereal topper.
Like coffee, green tea contains caffeine. Unlike coffee, it releases energy over the course of several hours, so you can enjoy an ongoing energy boost, rather than a spike followed by a crash. Green tea doesn’t cause uncomfortable caffeine jitters either, placing less stress on your nervous system than coffee.
Green tea is enjoyed as a hot drink but can also be used to flavour dishes from grilled salmon to cupcake frosting!
Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of fatigue, with iron-rich spirulina providing an energizing boost to blood iron levels (doing so without causing constipation, a typical side effect of synthetic iron supplements.)
Spirulina is rich in antioxidants which help to curb oxidative stress and restore energy levels in the body. The protein content in spirulina also amplifies nutrient absorption, thus taking a regular spirulina supplement will boost the effectiveness of other superfoods.